Creating safe spaces through mutual affirmation
Deen, Mary Katherine
MetadataShow full item record
4-H activities including 4-H clubs, camps, fairs, and after school programs are intended to be spaces where youth have the opportunity to develop belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. However, developing positive connections, engaging in learning, exhibiting individual identity, and understanding one’s value to a community can be difficult tasks for youth who often feel left out or left behind. Whether exclusion happens intentionally or unintentionally, it has repercussions not only for the youth but for the entire group. 4-H volunteers and staff can support and empower youth by carefully examining their biases and preferences, as well as those that exist collectively in their groups. They can demonstrate openness and non-judgmental communication. Providing youth with authentic opportunities to express differences in a safe and supportive environment models effective leadership while building healthier communities and developmental supports.